‘True Blood’ Star Nelsan Ellis Passes Away At 39

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“He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.”

Nelsan Ellis, the actor who starred in HBO’s True Blood as Lafayette Reynolds, has died, his manager Emily Gerson Saines, told The Hollywood Reporter.

He was 39.

“Nelsan has passed away after complications with heart failure,” Saines said. “He was a great talent, and his words and presence will be forever missed.”

On True Blood, Lafayette was a short order cook at Merlotte’s. In the books, he was killed off, but because Ellis made him such an enjoyable character, he survived in the series.

“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement. “Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of True Blood. Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.”

True Blood creator, Alan Ball said: “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.”

Ellis appeared in numerous film and TV shows, inclduing The SoloistThe ButlerGet On Up and Elementary.

Ellis was born in Harvey, Ill. He attended Thorn Ridge High School in Dolton, Illinois. He later attended Oxford University and Columbia College in Chicago, before graduating from the famed Juilliard School.

Ellis is survived by his grandmother (Alex Brown), his father (Tommie Lee Thompson) and his son (Breon Ellis). He is also survived by his siblings – Lakeeia Thomson (sister), Tommie Lee Thompson (brother), Babon Ellis (brother), Maurice Turne (brother), Tianna Thompson (sister), Shaentika Beard (sister), Yvonne Ellis (sister) and Tartheaia Thompson (aunt).

His mother, Jackie Ellis, predeceased him in death.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Jenesse Center or The Restoration Ministries Church of God and Christ.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by hollywoodreporter.com

 

‘Game Of Thrones’: Who Will Cersei Burn Next?

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After setting King’s Landing ablaze in season six, the Mad Queen stands poised to unleash more wildfire in season seven.

More than a year has passed since the now-infamous Light of the Seven sequence from Game of Thrones‘ sixth season finale, and everybody’s still feeling the burn.

The first act of the riveting episode centered on Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and her scorched-earth approach to destroying her enemies. After spending most of the season at the mercy of her opponents, Cersei unleashed a plot to destroy everyone standing in her path — a plot that involved an unholy amount of wildfire, the highly flammable fluorescent green fluid that was previously used to thwart Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) during the Battle of the Blackwater, and was almost used to level King’s Landing once upon a time at the Mad King Aerys’ request.

Cersei’s brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) was able to stop Aerys’ fiery scheme before it went into action, but he was too late to stop his beloved sister from using the substance to incinerate the Great Sept of Baelor. Thousands of innocent lives were lost in the attack, all in the name of targeting a precious few: Queen Margaery (Natalie Dormer), the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) and their respective allies. The destructive act was so devastating that it caused King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) to take his own life, leaving his mother childless, with nothing left to comfort her other than the Iron Throne.

As we head into season seven, Cersei serves as the Queen of Westeros, a haunting prospect to be sure. On one hand, it would seem she is outgunned in terms of allies, at least as compared to the armies amassed by Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington), respectively. On the other hand, what Cersei lacks in human numbers, she likely boasts in stores of wildfire; before his death, the Mad King had several caches of the explosive substance littered throughout King’s Landing, not just beneath the Sept of Baelor. And if she runs out? Her minion Maester Qyburn (Anton Lesser) is resourceful enough. If he can bring a man back to life, how hard can it be to cook up a new batch of the mean green stuff?

While so much attention is rightfully focused on the dragon fire heading Westeros’ way, attention must also be paid to Cersei’s own firepower. With that said, here are a few of the entities who could meet the business end of the Mad Queen’s wildfire wrath as Game of Thrones moves into its end game.

  1. The Targaryens

When he planned to level King’s Landing with wildfire, the Mad King Aerys didn’t boast much concern for his own safety. That’s because he believed he would be immune from the impact of the wildfire blast, thanks to protection from his Targaryen bloodline. He probably would have been wrong, as proved by one of his descendants, Prince Aerion, who died drinking wildfire, thinking it would turn him into a dragon. All of which is to say that both Daenerys and Jon Snow have fire in their veins, but can they withstand wildfire? History says no, but Dany’s fireproof powers seen in seasons one and six might suggest otherwise. In any case, as the Mother of Dragons and the Mother of Lions prepare for battle, we’re likely in for a clash of fire, wild or otherwise.

  1. Tyrion Lannister

“Everyone who isn’t us is an enemy,” Cersei once told her eldest son, and that mantra even extends toward members of her own family — one imp in particular. With Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) returning to Westeros this season, it’s only a matter of time before he reunites with his “sweet sister,” and one expects the reunion won’t be so sweet. Could wildfire be the thing that ties these two characters back together? After all, Tyrion is the one who hijacked Cersei’s wildfire wrath against the Baratheons back during the Battle of the Blackwater. It would be an all-too-cruel twist if Cersei, now in possession of the veritable napalm, turns it against her younger brother and gains the vengeance she’s sought ever since she accused him of murdering King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson).

  1. King’s Landing

It’s tempting to think Cersei would want to use wildfire against her enemies, given that she planned to use it against Stannis back in season two, and given that she did use it against Margaery and the High Sparrow in season six. But an even more chilling prospect is that Cersei could light up her own city, using the secret stashes of wildfire hidden in Flea Bottom, the Red Keep and elsewhere around King’s Landing to incinerate thousands and thousands of innocent lives in an instant. Frankly, it would be a positively Tywinian tactic to threaten Daenerys with such a destructive act: “Move against me, and I will destroy the Iron Throne. I have nothing left to live for anyway. Test me.” It would turn King’s Landing into something of a hostage crisis, one of a few developments that could actually prevent Dany from unleashing a full-scale assault against her No. 1 enemy.

  1. Cersei Lannister

Really, it’s entirely likely that Cersei’s decision to destroy the Sept of Baelor is going to lead to her own destruction. Consider the look she exchanges with her brother and lover Jaime in their final scene together in season six. Jaime does not seem pleased, and understandably so; he killed a king once before for threatening the use of wildfire on his own people. Now, the person he loves most in the world has gone through with the act. If he suspects that Cersei will resort to such recklessly ruthless means again, will Jaime repeat history and become the Queenslayer? It would certainly fulfill Maggy the Frog’s prophecy about the “valonqar,” the younger sibling destined to one day choke the life out of Cersei’s throat.

  1. The White Walkers

In a perfect world, Cersei and Daenerys become fast friends as soon as they meet. The Mad Queen becomes the Happy Queen and chooses to join forces with the Targaryens, Starks and other assorted houses to use all of their combined firepower, wildfire included, against the undead army lurking in the frozen North. Cersei resigns as queen, kicks back and relaxes at Casterly Rock, and lives happily ever after. The end!

Presented by The Griper – E.Cowan

Written by hollywoodreporter.com

Olivia de Havilland Sues FX Over ‘Feud’ Portrayal

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The actress, who turns 101 on July 1, is the only living person portrayed in the FX series.

FX has a legal feud on its hands following its series about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford — and it doesn’t come from heirs of either of the titular characters.

Olivia de Havilland is suing the network and Ryan Murphy Productions over her portrayal by Catherine Zeta-Jones in Feud: Bette and Joan.

In a complaint filed Friday in L.A. County Superior Court, de Havilland claims she has built a reputation for integrity and dignity by refraining from gossip and other unkind, ill-mannered behavior — but the series opens with Zeta-Jones doing an interview as de Havilland and creates the impression that she was a hypocrite who sold gossip to promote herself.

“[A]ll statements made by Zeta-Jones as Olivia de Havilland in this fake interview are completely false, some inherently so; others false because they were never said,” writes attorney Suzelle Smith. “FX defendants did not engage in protected First Amendment speech in putting false words into the mouth of Olivia de Havilland in a fake interview that did not occur and would not have occurred.”

The star says Feud was designed to look like reality, but no one consulted her: the only person alive who experienced the events depicted.

Murphy admitted as much in an April interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying he never contacted de Havilland about his series because he didn’t want to intrude. “I didn’t write Olivia because I didn’t want to be disrespectful and ask her, ‘Did this happen? Did that happen? What was your take on that?'” he said.

She also takes issue with Feud’s references to her relationship with her sister.

“Zeta-Jones’ de Havilland refers to Joan Fontaine as her ‘bitch sister,’ an offensive term that stands in stark contrast with Olivia de Havilland’s reputation for good manners, class and kindness,” writes Smith.

The actress says defendants knew or recklessly disregarded publicly available information that she is alive, she never gave an interview about the relationship between Davis and Crawford, and that she maintains a reputation for avoiding gossip mongering.

In April, de Havilland told THR she hadn’t seen the show, but “in principle, I am opposed to any representation of personages who are no longer alive to judge the accuracy of any incident depicted as involving themselves.” Apparently, she’s seen it now and she isn’t pleased.

“Each FX defendant knew ‘Feud’ would be more successful if they placed an individual like Olivia de Havilland, who is known for her honesty and integrity, at the forefront of the story,” writes Smith. “Her credibility, as both the only living person of significance portrayed in ‘Feud’ and as a reliable source who was close to the action, added to the success of ‘Feud’ at the expense of Olivia de Havilland.”

She’s suing for infringement of common law right of publicity, invasion of privacy and unjust enrichment and is asking the court for not only damages but also any profits gained from the use of her likeness and an injunction to keep FX from continuing to use her name and likeness.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by hollywoodreporter.com

Paul McCartney Reaches Settlement With Sony/ATV 

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The fight that was poised to be a landmark music battle has ended in a draw.

Sir Paul McCartney and Sony/ATV have reached a deal in their duel over The Beatles song rights, settling a case that had the potential to rock the music industry to its core.

McCartney sued in January, asking the court for a declaration that he could soon reclaim his copyright ownership share to the iconic group’s catalog of songs. The Copyright Act of 1976 lengthened the term of copyright protection, but it also created for owners of works who signed over their rights on or before Jan. 1, 1978, the non-waivable right to reclaim them after a certain period of time. The provision McCartney relied on here states specifically: “Termination of the grant may be effected at any time during a period of five years beginning at the end of 56 years from the date copyright was originally secured, or beginning on Jan. 1, 1978, whichever is later.”

For Sir Paul, that date was Oct. 5, 2018. Despite not receiving any pushback from Sony/ATV after sending termination notices, the artist was on alert because one of the company’s affiliates successfully opposed Duran Duran’s efforts to regain rights. In December, an English court ruled that the interpretation of contracts under English law trumps American termination law and the band’s agreement transferred the “entire copyrights” for the “full term” of the copyrights and “implicitly precludes the Group Members from exercising rights under U.S. law which have the result that the Claimant’s ownership of the copyrights is brought to an end prior to their expiry.”

Now that McCartney and Sony/ATV have resolved this issue themselves, copyright watchers won’t have the satisfaction of knowing how a stateside court would rule in this case.

“The parties have resolved this matter by entering into a confidential settlement agreement and jointly request that the Court enter the enclosed proposed order dismissing the above-referenced action without prejudice,” writes McCartney attorney Michael Jacobs in a Thursday letter to U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos.

The details of the deal are unclear, but the order specifies that the New York federal court will “enforce the terms of the parties’ Settlement Agreement, should a dispute arise.”

Attorneys for both parties declined further comment on the settlement.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by hollywoodreporter.com

‘The Tonight Show – Jay Leno Still Cares

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When you’re one of a few people in television history to have hosted your own late-night show for more than 20 years and then stepped away from it, what do you do now? If you’re Jay Leno, you hit the road.

Mr. Leno, who succeeded Johnny Carson as host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” in 1992 and left the program in 2014 (with a bit of drama in between), is still working the stand-up job he had before his coveted TV gig. By his own estimate, Mr. Leno, 67, plays about 210 live shows a year — up from the 150 or so he did annually while still on “The Tonight Show” — at clubs and casinos, and at events like this Saturday’s season spectacular at Guild Hall in East Hampton, N.Y.

Mr. Leno, who also continues to host “Jay Leno’s Garage” on CNBC, explained in a recent phone interview that his desire to stay active as a stand-up is rooted in “being an observer.”

“Real comics don’t really fit in anywhere,” he said, speaking from Los Angeles. “You’re not really a blue-collar guy anymore. But you’re not comfortable around rich people.”

Mr. Leno spoke further about his life after late night and challenges of being a political joke-teller in a polarized environment. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

What is it like to have once hosted a late-night show five nights a week and then stepped away from it?

People always think, you have a TV show, then it ends. The next night, you go, “Where’s my table at Spago?” “I’m sorry, Mr. Leno, it’s been given to Mr. Fallon.” “What? That’s my table!” It doesn’t exist that way. The real trick is to make show business money but live in the real world. And then you tend to appreciate things a little bit more.

So you didn’t go through a withdrawal period after it ended?

What I tell people in show business is, Don’t fall in love with a hooker. That’s what show business is. The greatest thing about “The Tonight Show” is that you could be around show business without being immersed in it. When Charlie Sheen would come on and tell a story about some hooker pushing him out of his Mercedes on Mulholland Drive, it was always hilarious, but I don’t want to live that life. I did the show and I went home every night like it was a school night, to work on the monologues.

Do you watch any of the current late-night shows?

I enjoy everybody. I always say Jimmy [Fallon] is the closest of anybody to Carson. But I love [Stephen] Colbert’s hard-hitting monologues. Samantha Bee is terrific. I like Trevor Noah. I loved Larry Wilmore. The people who fall by the wayside are the people who have nothing to say. They come out and go: “Woo, how are you all doing? You all good?” Yeah, I’m fine, just give me the jokes, O.K.?

You don’t experience a Larry Sanders-like feeling of self-loathing when you watch other people’s shows?

Not self-loathing, but I’m a huge believer in low self-esteem. I’m dyslexic, so my mother always said, “You’re going to have to work twice as hard as the other kids to get the same thing.” That was a plan that actually worked for me.

How is it that there are so many more late-night shows now, but they’re still largely hosted by white, male performers?

I was talking to a younger comedian who said to me: “You and Seinfeld were lucky. You came up in the golden age of stand-up, when everybody could get in.” No, there’s no golden age. Every time is just as difficult as every other time. The difference is, now you can rocket to the middle. But you can’t get past the middle. You just wind up playing to your audience. As opposed to trying to make your material work for any audience, people go, “I only play to this kind of audience.”

You don’t think that there are institutional roadblocks for women or minority comedians?

I would always meet people that go, “You can’t get a job as a comic unless you’re in the union, and you can’t get in the union unless you’re a comic.” I’d say to them: “Right, then quit. It can’t be done. Just leave, O.K.?” Some of those things may be true until somebody comes along that breaks the mold. “Roseanne,” back in the ’80s, was a groundbreaking show. If you had put Roseanne [Barr] onstage with five other women, which one is going to be the big star? I don’t know whether you would have picked Roseanne. Samantha Bee has broken out in a sea of white guys and done quite well. I see more and more female stand-ups out there.

You took pains on “The Tonight Show” to joke equally about both political parties. Would that approach be possible now?

It’s a different time now. It’s kind of ugly. On “Jay Leno’s Garage,” we did a thing where we had Colin Powell race Joe Biden in Corvettes. The two of them trash-talked each other and made fun of each other, and people just seemed so happy to see a Republican and a Democrat being nice to each other.

Last year, before the election, I was playing in Lancaster, Pa. That’s pretty much Trump territory. I would do a Trump joke, and then a Hillary [Clinton] joke. I deliberately did one and then the other. I did about a dozen of them. After the show, this lady says: “I’m a fan, but I have a bone to pick with you: I notice you didn’t do any Hillary jokes. You only made fun of Donald Trump.” What she would do is, every time I would tell a Trump joke, she would turn to her friend and go, “Ugh, can you believe what he said?” She didn’t even hear the other jokes. It was a classic case of just hearing what you want to hear.

Do you think it’s a more perilous time for comedians who joke about politics?

We live in a time now where what you say is so much worse than what you do — when words carry more consequence than deeds. Like this whole thing with Kathy Griffin. If that had been really funny, it would have been O.K. All judgment goes out the window if something is really funny. But it was just too serious and not funny enough. You didn’t look at that picture and laugh. She stepped out of her arena. Her arena is making fun of show business — nobody takes [show business] that seriously. Then, suddenly, you step into somebody’s political beliefs and oh boy.

When you’ve had the kind of career you’ve had, is it harder to make yourself relatable to a middle-class American audience?

If I get any criticism at all — and I certainly get a lot — it’s that, “Oh, you’re not the angry comedian you once were.” Of course, when you’re 25 and broke, and you’ve got an economy ticket and you got bumped, you’re going to be angrier than if you’re in your private plane. I was in Milwaukee, playing a casino, and I finished at 12:30. I take a car to my hotel in downtown Milwaukee, and I take the service elevator up to my room. The next morning, I go outside, go about five blocks to get a bite to eat, and I now realize, I don’t even know the name of the hotel I’m staying in. That’s a first-world problem. It just made me laugh. How stupid is that?

Do you worry about maintaining your TV legacy when your show doesn’t live on in reruns?

Luckily, you as a performer don’t live on. You die, eventually. If you’re worried about your legacy? Oh, shut up. Nobody cares. I was in Vegas and they were taking down an Elvis Presley exhibit at one of the hotels. I said, “What’s going on?” They said, “We’re taking this down, the kids don’t really know who this is anymore.” If you don’t know who Elvis is, I don’t think my legacy is something you have to worry about.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by nytimes.com

Charlie Sheen To Auction Off Prized Babe Ruth Memorabilia

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Charlie Sheen will give baseball fans the chance to own some of the New York Yankees’ most coveted pieces of memorabilia on Friday, as the actor puts two Babe Ruth items up for auction.

In partnership with sports auction house Lelands, Sheen put Babe Ruth’s 1927 World Series ring and the contract that brought The Bambino from the Boston Red Sox to the Yankees in 1919. Together, both items are expected to go for more than $1 million.

There are three copies of the contract. The document Sheen owned belonged to former New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, who bought the team in 1915. In addition to completing what Lelands’ website described as “the most important transaction in sports history,” Ruppert’s tenure also included the building of Yankees Stadium and the team’s first World Series win in 1927.

“I’ve enjoyed these incredible items for more than two decades and the time has come,” Sheen told ESPN on Monday. The actor added that he displayed the two pieces of memorabilia in the bar area of his home and kept them in pristine condition.

At the time of this posting, 20 people had bid on Ruth’s ring with the item going for more than $611,000. Fifteen people bid on the contract, which had racked up more than $379,000.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by huffingtonpost.com

Alec Baldwin Will Return As Trump

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Alec Baldwin has announced he’s coming back to SNL next season to take on his most infamous role yet — Donald Trump. Alec has revealed what’s next for his POTUS impression!

President Donald Trump, 70, is the butt of many a joke. But there are few jokes made at the president’s expense as good as those made by Alec Baldwin, 59. Alec has portrayed POTUS on Saturday Night Live since last season’s premiere in October 2016 and done an amazing job with the part every time. Luckily for all the SNL fans who have relied on his impersonation to get them through the beginning of Trump’s presidency, Alec is gonna be sticking around to play the commander in chief next season!

Alec broke the news to CNN on June 26 that he’ll definitely be back to portray the orange-skinned president on Season 43 of NBC’s sketch show. “Yeah, we’re gonna fit that in,” the actor said. “I think people have enjoyed it.” However, we are sure there is one person who will be frightened by this news — Trump. The president has not tried to hide the fact he disapproves of Alec’s impression, tweeting in October that it “stinks.” Click here to see pics of Alec.

But ratings don’t lie, and Alec’s impersonation did wonders for SNL. Viewership rose 30 percent last season as Alec played Trump in a total of 17 episodes, including the February 11 episode, which he also hosted. Alec is now the most frequent host in SNL history and definitely a fan favorite, thanks to his Trump impression. And while he will be back next season, you might have to prepare yourself for less of the actor than you were treated to before. Alec said his appearances next season will be more like “a couple celery sticks” rather than “a full meal.” But hey, we’ll take what we can get!

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by hollywoodlife.com

Actor James Woods Slams $3 Million Lawsuit Against Him

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Casino star James Woods claims it is ‘ok’ to use the word ‘Nazi’ on Twitter.
The acclaimed 70-year-old actor is fighting back in a bizarre $3 million lawsuit against him brought by Portia Boulger at Ohio Federal Court.
The Democratic activist is suing the star after she attended a Donald Trump rally in Chicago on March 11, 2016. A local newspaper then posted a photograph of a woman wearing a Trump t-shirt and giving a Nazi style salute.

Several Twitter users posted the photo and misidentified the woman as Boulger. She accused Woods of re-tweeting the photo on his account and sued him as a result.

Mr. Woods’ tweet read: “So-called #Trump ‘Nazi’ is a #BernieSanders agitator/operative?””

Shortly after it was revealed that Boulger was NOT the woman in the photo but rather a Trump supporter named Birgitt Peterson.

Despite the news correcting the information, Woods never removed his tweet and it was re-tweeted more than 5k times and his account has over 350,000 followers.

Woods eventually tweeted to his followers, “I have an opportunity to clarify something I challenged immediately when it hit Twitter Portia A. Boulger was NOT the ‘Nazi salute lady”.

After receiving death threats and harassing calls Boulger sued for defamation, harm to her reputation and emotional distress — seeking $1 million in compensatory damages plus $2 millio1n in punitive damages.

RadarOnline.com can now reveal Woods is heading to court to get the case thrown out.

He argues that he made no defamatory assertion of fact and claims his tweets cannot be reasonably read as defamatory by the average reader on Twitter.

He claims that he just made an inquiry about the identity of the woman in his Tweet and that importantly the use of the word ‘Nazi’ is not actionable. Woods states that courts have consistently held the use of the word in rhetorical hyberbole.

The star is demanding that the case against him be thrown out of court without any payment.

Presented by The Griper – E.Cowan
Written by radaronline.com

Julian Lennon: Advocate

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We all find ways to battle depression, anxiety, and sleepless nights. For musician and photographer Julian Lennon, the remedy is to take a drive with no destination. “Driving a convertible through the mountains or along the coast helps me. I take deep breaths and take in the fresh air,” he says. “Sometimes you’ve just got to ride the wave. There’s always a reason why. It’s just learning and trying to understand the causes—and then change happens.”

Julian, born John Charles Julian Lennon, knows about transformation. He’s reinvented himself many times: as songwriter, pop star, actor, Internet businessman, filmmaker, author, photographer—and philanthropist.

Born in Liverpool, England, Julian is the only child of John and Cynthia Lennon. He’s named after his father’s mother, Julia. Julian inspired three Beatle songs, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Hey Jude,” and “Good Night.” In John’s song, “Stand By Me,” he speaks out, “Hello Julian.”

He followed in his dad’s footsteps, even playing drums on John Lennon’s recording of “Walls and Bridges” at age eleven! Ten years later, at the age twenty-two, Julian was sizzling with his debut album, Valotte. The title song and another track, “Too Late For Goodbyes” shot into the Top Ten. In 1985, he was nominated for Best New Artist and the album went platinum.

In 2007, Julian documented the music tour of his stepbrother Sean (John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s only son), with whom he’s extremely close. This adventure was the catalyst for Julian’s keen interest in photography and his life took a dramatic turn. His first exhibit, “Timeless,” took place in New York City in 2010. His new body of work, called “Cycle,” is a photo collection of people living on the border of the South China Sea. For the next year or so, the exhibit will travel the world to venues like Sao Paulo, Tokyo, and Berlin. I catch up with Julian at his Los Angeles exhibition.

As I view Julian’s extraordinary photographs on the walls on the second floor of Leica Gallery on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, I spot Julian through the mammoth picture window entering the gallery. About half way up the stairwell, he spies me looking at him from above. He extends his hand upward and I extend mine down toward him. He nods, “I’m sorry for being late.” (Actually, he’s right on time.) Julian is immediately vivacious, gracious, and charming. His welcoming smile is radiant and contagious.

We had planned to talk in the gallery, but it’s quite noisy. Julian finds a quiet place, the VIP room on the first floor, in the back. His effervescent publicist, Kim, makes sure we are comfortable and supplies us with bottled water. She closes the sliding smoked glass doors as she departs.

During our interview, Julian apologizes several times for mumbling and for not making sense due to his lack of sleep. He has suffered from reoccurring insomnia most of his life. This exhibit has put a strain on him, having devoted six months to sorting through some 4,000 photographs to meet a deadline. He admits he’s exhausted and can’t recall the last time he took a holiday.

Though he works most days, it’s his life force. Julian’s dedication is expressed through his photography and philanthropy. “I’m educated through my travels. It’s an opportunity for people who can’t travel to see in pictures what I have seen. That’s one of the reasons I do what I do,” states Julian, sitting next to me on the ebony-colored leather sofa Julian’s other delight and passion is his philanthropic work. His interests vary, focusing on environmental, educational, and humanitarian issues. Reaching out to individuals living with lupus and HIV/AIDS, he’s been active with several AIDS organizations including amfAR, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and Fashion Acts, which was founded by members of the fashion industry in the U.K.

In 2009, he founded The White Feather Foundation, after receiving a white feather from an elder of the Australian Aboriginal group, the Mirning Tribe. “Dad once told me that after he passed, he would let me know that all was okay by sending me a message in the form of a white feather,” Julian explains in a lowered voice. “While I was on tour with [my album] Photograph Smile, I encountered the Aborigine who handed me a feather. It left me breathless.” Today, the white feather lies on a shelf in Julian’s bedroom at his Monaco home.

To Julian, the feather represents both peace and communication. The elder asked Julian to bring awareness to others about the importance of the whale in the Aboriginal culture. Lennon later produced the documentary, Whaledreamers, which portrays the kinship between Aboriginal peoples and the ocean mammal. The film’s message is that we must embrace all living things in their natural beauty, while maintaining a clean and nurturing environment. It has won several awards and was screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. (In April of this year, Julian launched his children’s book, Touch the Earth, about hopping aboard the white feather plane for a voyage around the planet to marvel at the vast beauty of the natural world and to gain a greater appreciation of its vulnerability and of our duty to preserve it for future generations.)

The Foundation partners with many other organizations, including those working to provide clean water in Africa, assisting the Haitians who are still recovering from a devastating hurricane, and providing HIV education and healthcare in Ethiopia.

When an earthquake struck Nepal, Music for Relief (Julian is an artist partner and advisory board member) came to the aid of its people. Julian announced that he’d match donations, dollar for dollar. They raised over $100,000. To honor Lucy O’Donnell, who inspired the Beatle’s song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”—Julian brought home a nursery drawing of his classmate Lucy and called it “Lucy, in the sky with diamonds—Julian released a tribute song called “Lucy.” Fifty percent of the profits funded lupus research.

Julian sits on the edge of the sofa where he remains for the entire interview. He’s clad in gray cord pants and a black T-shirt with sunglasses clipped over the neckline, making the shirt look V-neck. A dark navy-colored vest, brown leather workboots, and one small simple looped earring complete his attire. His style of dress is intentionally understated. Julian shuns the limelight and does not like to be in front of the camera. One could say he’s a public recluse.

Julian recently visited Ethiopia and Kenya and witnessed the devastation caused by the AIDS epidemic. “Mothers and their babies…” He grabbles with finding the correct words. “You clearly see the mental and emotional effects that the epidemic has wrought on the people. They don’t see much hope…I spoke to some girls and I listened to their stories about what was going on in their lives,” he notes while fidgeting with his leather wristband and baby bracelet that spells out “Fuck Cancer.” “Two major issues were rape and murder. Theses kids get up at five or six a.m. and walk two hours to school in the dark. After school they walk home in the dark. This is when they are most at risk.”

He sips his water. “When these girls get home, they clean the house, gather firewood, boil water, and then do their homework. They get a couple of hours’ sleep before repeating the schedule the next day.”

It’s tough for boys too. “They need to be sorted out big time in this macho society. They are not nurtured—a major element of life,” the former waiter and dishwasher attests. Some of the students told him that they aspire to be lawyers and doctors, and then return to their community and educate the locals, especially on sexual practices. “These kids want to be educated!” Julian emphasizes with passion, briefly leaning back against the arm of the couch. Heeding their pleas, the White Feather Foundation built dormitories and a guardhouse.

Access to health clinics is another concern. “Of the few that do exist, most are falling apart and lack essential supplies. Many people walk miles and miles to receive medical care. When they arrive they wait for hours just to be seen by a nurse, and possibly get some treatment if they’re lucky.” Music For Relief and Julian’s foundation are presently working to provide mobile units that will go into villages on bikes and scooters to deliver essential medical services

Julian’s Twitter feeds are mainly about supporting causes and casual self-help quotes. “I am fortunate…and blessed,” he declared on a recent feed. “We all need to render assistance in any way we can. It’s that simple….”

Julian’s mum instilled in him the need to give. She also taught him the importance of integrity. “My mum always said that you just kill people with kindness. There’s no need to be mean, nasty, or cruel to anybody.” He pauses. “Mum was my rock.”

Cynthia died in April 2015, seven days before Julian’s birthday. It was the most devastating, the single most tragic event in his life. Cynthia had been diagnosed with lung cancer only months before her death. She passed away at her home in Majorca, Spain, at the age of seventy-five. In her honor, Julian recently launched the Cynthia Lennon Scholarship For Girls, which will provide four years of educational support to students in Africa.

Cynthia’s death overwhelmed Julian with immense grief. “I didn’t handle it well at all. I threw myself into denial. I couldn’t believe that she was gone. After her diagnosis, Julian reached out to preeminent doctors for natural healing techniques, discovering many types of treatments. I had never heard of some of these treatments,” he shrugs releasing a halfhearted guffaw, “but it was a bit too late.”

“The saddest words from her lips were, ‘I did this to myself.’ He takes a huge gulp. “That was really hard to take. It was true to some degree.” Cynthia had smoked all her life. “She was mostly comfortable until the last week. Then her body shut down.”

Julian missed her passing by fifteen minutes. He said his last words to her the night before, as she lay in the hospital bed. “I’ll see ya tomorrow Mum,” he said. She replied, “All right, love.” Julian speculates, “It was sort of a resigned response. I felt something was different.”

He claps his hands to make a point or perhaps to break the tension. “I don’t think she wanted me to witness her passing,” he observes. He places his thumb, which sports a silver ring, up to his lips. “I talk to her at night. She comes to me.” He shifts, wrapping his foot behind his calf. He turns his head away for a minute, looking down gazing at the cement floor and expels a sigh. “This plane that we live on, this existence is the weirdest thing in the world, isn’t it? I’m in awe of it and overwhelmed by it every single day.”

When AIDS first appeared in the eighties, Julian was a young rock star, maintaining a frenzied schedule and touring the world. “I’m a relatively shy person underneath it all,” he admits, his tone analytical, like an academic expounding on a theory. “I was not like most of the rockers at that time. My mates had one-night stands every night. It just was not my cup of tea. I wanted love and cuddling and mutual respect, not just a quick shag in the back of a van—excuse my French.”

STDs didn’t trouble Julian. He was more old-school. “I never just jumped into bed with someone. It’s usually a long mutual courting process,” he remarks evenly, adding that he always wears protection. Julian’s last relationship lasted ten years and that was a while ago. “I haven’t found the love I’ve been looking for. I’m waiting to be smacked in the face by it,” he riffs, shaking his head in resignation. He was engaged twice and both times the engagements were called off.

How does he broach the subject of STDs with dates? Julian offers, “It comes up naturally, through the growth of communication between two people. For me, it’s crucial to have an extended period before sex,” he persists, then tags on, “All the loves of my life are still my dearest friends. I just don’t understand the mentality of breaking up and…that’s it! You have a history together. How does that end overnight?”

Julian has been taking the HIV test for years. “When you’re in this business there are insurance issues. You have to go through rigorous tests at least once a year. For my first test, I was panic-stricken,” he recalls, tousling through his thick bouncy locks. Julian was not keyed into the epidemic in the eighties. He was touring and recording at a frantic pace. “It wasn’t until I saw the film Philadelphia that I became fully conscious of AIDS. The film had a deep impact on me. I had been running around the world doing rock and roll like a headless chicken. I was playing the ‘rock and roll game.’”

Julian’s song “Saltwater” relates to all our struggles, he says, and includes references to the AIDS epidemic.

I have lived for love But now that’s not enough For the world I love is dying And now I’m crying And time is not a friend (no friend of mine) As friends we’re out of time And it’s slowly passing by…right before our eyes

We bid farewell with a hug. Julian then swiftly cruises off to another interview at a local radio station, racking up mile after mile as an ambassador for compassion.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by aumag,org

Daniel Day-Lewis Announces Retirement From Acting

Categories: Uncategorized

Daniel Day-Lewis, three-time Oscar winner and perhaps the “greatest actor alive,” is retiring from acting.

“Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor,” a spokesperson for the “Lincoln” star said in a statement to Variety. “He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject.”

Day-Lewis, 60, currently has one film in post-production, Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread,” which is set to hit theaters this Christmas. The movie follows a dressmaker in London in the 1950s who’s commissioned to design clothing for members of high society and the royal family. Day-Lewis will reportedly promote the film, an individual familiar with his plans told Variety.

The “Gangs of New York” actor, whose career in Hollywood has spanned decades, has been praised for his talent and ability to get lost in his roles.

He is the only male performer to ever win three Best Actor Oscars ― first, for his role in “My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown,” then, for playing an oil man in “There Will Be Blood,” and finally, for playing President Lincoln in “Lincoln.” He was also nominated for his roles in “Gangs of New York” and “In the Name of the Father.”

As Variety notes, Day-Lewis also took a break from acting in the late ’90s to reportedly work as a cobbler.

Presented by E.Cowan

Written by huffingtonpost.com

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